Last December, we decided to put your skills to the test with our brand new Winter Writing Competition!
Our challenge to write a 500-word retelling of The Snow Queen was not an easy one, but you certainly rose to meet it.
We were blown away by the qualities of your entries and the sheer range of directions you all took your stories in.
Congratulations, A. Collier!
You won with your story ‘Strawberries Can Melt Ice‘! Keep scrolling to read the winning tale:
Splat! Gina flinched as her tablet screen went white, then a message written in icicles proclaimed, “You’ve been hit by the SnowQueen! Try again, FlowerGirl?”
She turned the power off, and put the tablet down on her desk, trying to hold back tears. It was silly to let that stupid game hurt her feelings, she told herself. Across the room, Brie was watching her with those cold blue eyes, and Gina was not going to cry in front of the girl who made her life miserable.
Why couldn’t there be outside recess today? Who cared if it was snowing? Gina always played outside, and though she preferred the summer when she could plant sunflowers and grow strawberries in her little window box, she would much rather have a real snowball fight than that app Brie had everyone playing. Well, she would have if Kevin was still her best friend.
Kevin was sitting by Brie, swiping at the screen on his tablet. He glanced up at Gina, but his brown eyes were just as cold as Brie’s, like he hadn’t been Gina’s neighbor and playmate since they had been born.
Gina still didn’t really understand what had happened. Everything had been normal until last month when their sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Rache (who looked like a troll and was just as evil), had changed the seating assignments, placing Kevin far across the room, right in front of Brie. Brie had been whispering in his ear ever since, inviting Kevin to her fancy house, and meeting him at the ice rink for skating on the weekends.
“He’ll come back around,” Gina’s mother had comforted her. “You’ve been friends for so long. You’ll see.”
Gina had protested. “Kevin doesn’t even seem himself, though, mom! He’s all cold and mean!”
Her mother had pursed her lips, disbelieving. “That boy doesn’t have a mean bone in his body!”
Gina had sighed, staring out the window toward Kevin’s house and thinking of happier times.
Now, a month later, Gina knew she had to do something. Kevin was her friend. She wouldn’t let Brie turn him into a cruel person.
When Brie when up to Mrs. Rache to ask for the bathroom pass, Gina turned her tablet back on. She went to her saved photos, found one from last summer. Her mother had taken the picture, of her and Kevin, their smiling faces covered in strawberry juice. She typed in the words, “Friends for Infinity,” then hit send.
A few seconds passed, and she saw Kevin’s brow crease, then his eyes widen. He looked up at her, and his brown eyes were warm again. He was her Kevin again, the boy who planted strawberries and held her hand when she was scared. Kevin came over to sit by her.
“Sorry I’ve been so awful lately. I don’t know what came over me,” he smiled sheepishly.
“That’s okay,” Gina grinned happily, knowing she had saved him from the Snow Queen once and for all.
Comment from the WriteStorybooks Team!
The Snow Queen may be a classic, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to stay in the past… as this story proves!
You’ve done a wonderful job at transforming the narrative into a modern setting. By using modern technology, you could keep the villainous Snow Queen without sacrificing real-life anxieties and frights too.
The worry about losing friends (and the joy in getting them back) is something which would resonate with young readers too, which is great to see!
You’ve won an Amazon Kindle and a copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairytales! Congratulations!
The standard was extremely high, and we had such a difficult task in choosing just one winner. So, we also wanted to send another giant ‘well done’ to our runners-up!
Snow Queen Superhero by Dan Russell
“It’s too late, Prime Minister” said Haines solemnly. He tried without success to hide the anxiety from his voice.
“Too late! I refuse to accept it!” Exclaimed the man opposite in the leather bound armchair.
“The meteorologists seem to agree world wide” continued Haines more evenly. “Hardly anyone with any sort of standing in the scientific world believes the situation can be reversed now.”
The Prime Minister plucked at his eyebrows; a habitual indication of stress. “It’s Christmas! For the first time in years College Green is white with snow. How can this be?”
“Well, ” Haines felt compelled to answer the rhetorical question. “Global Warming is hardly a new phenomenon. The last Glaciers in Alaska are slipping into the ocean.”
The Prime Ministered sighed. “I am one of the most powerful people in the Northern Hemisphere. My granddaughters are sitting up expectantly waiting for Father Christmas to drop down the Chimney and leave gifts. They’re desperate to stay awake. And here am I, helpless”
“Father Christmas can’t fix this one” asserted Haines. Silence. The two men looked at each other. The half empty coffee cups stood silently on the tray like sentries guarding the sugar bowl. The clock in the hall relentlessly counted down to Christmas, and the final destruction of the Earth.
Suddenly, without warning the Prime Minister leapt to his feet. Haines, startled, automatically reached for his gun. “That’s it!” shouted the Prime Minister. “Haines, do you believe in Father Christmas?”
Haines held fast to the butt of his service revolver, “Well Sir” he began doubtfully.
“Well?” the Prime Minister urged impatiently.
“I er er I suppose so Sir.”
“Mythical beings, Haines. We believe Father Christmas is real just because we want him to be. Well what is he wasn’t the only one?” The Prime Minister had clearly been under pressure but Haines had really not seen anything like this coming.
“Yes, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny” is that what you mean? Jack Frost?” Haines asked, the amusement in the face of crisis beginning to turn the corners of his lips.
“No, no you fool!” The Snow Queen. We can ask the Snow Queen to use her powers and re-freeze the poles!”
Haines laughed out loud. “The Snow Queen, Sir”. His grip loosened on his gun as he went for his handkerchief to wipe his eyes. “The Snow Queen!” he laughed.
“Yes” confirmed the Prime Minister. “We will ask Father Christmas to pass a message to her.”
So they did.
The Snow Queen sat in her Ice Castle miles north of Lapland. Is this a joke she thought. The human world has messed up big time. It must be all that dust from the Sprite’s mirror. It must have got in all their eyes over the years and spoilt the whole world. I could be a hero! Finally they would love me. I would the favourite. Father Christmas would be nothing compared to me. I’ll do it!
So she did.
The Final Shard by James Christie
Once upon a time, in the great ice palace, the Snow Queen was interrupted by one of her servants.
“Your majesty, your majesty,” cried the little man, “they found it. Your bees have found the last shard.”
“Where is it? Show me! We must collect it before it enters the heart of an innocent!” replied the queen excitedly.
She grabbed her thick, white fur coat and leapt into her sleigh. With the servant directing, they shot off towards the city where the shard had been seen. When they arrived after a long journey, she was disappointed to find the shard had already found its way into the heart of a young boy named Kai. It had changed him into a terror.
Even his parents didn’t know what to do with him so the snow queen approached them. Together they made a deal. Kai would go with the queen, to her palace, where she could use all of her power to try to remove the shard and return Kai to normal. Before they left, the queen gave kai a kiss on each cheek, one to protect him from the cold of her ice palace and one to protect him from the sadness of missing his family.
When the boy’s friend, Gerda, asked Kais parents where he was, they were ashamed and lied. They told Gerda the evil Snow Queen had stolen Kai away to her palace. So, that night, Gerda snuck into the stables and took her parents sled and began tracking the Snow Queen back to the palace, to rescue Kai.
Back at the palace the Snow Queen spent several days trying to remove the shard from the boy with all the spells she knew. But nothing worked. She was almost out of ideas when she was, once again, interrupted.
“Your majesty, your majesty,” cried the servant, “There is a girl approaching the palace. Should we send out the guards?”
The queen looked out of her window to see who it was. She recognized Gerda as being from Kai’s village.
“No,” she said forming an idea, “I want you to take Kai to the throne room and leave him there to be found. Then tell everyone they must hide. I want the girl to find him, there is one type of magic I have not yet considered.”
From behind a statue the queen watched Gerda approach Kai, begging him to go home. When Kai wouldn’t talk to her Gerda cried a single tear of desperation and love. It didn’t drop. It flew straight into Kai and washed the shard from his heart. He was freed. Before the queen could thank them, Kai and Gerda ran off into the night and all the way back home where they remained safely together forever. The queen picked up the shard from the ground and froze it deep in her lake, where nobody would ever find it. With the last of the evil shards gone, everyone could, finally, live happily ever after.
The Little Robber Maiden and the Crow by Nina Makin
Sheltered by towering oaks, the ornate mirror fluttered in mid-air as if suspended there by invisible giants. The little robber maiden eyed it with mistrust.
“I don’t like this,” she scowled. “Are you sure the snow queen is in there?”
“Tis true,” the crow confirmed. “The Sparrowhawks saw the hobgoblin snatch her from the cusp of the black cauldron and imprison her somewhere through here. He’d learned of her plans to destroy his evil mirror- but he doesn’t know about the artefact.”
Her hand hovered protectively over the icicle laying dormant in her pocket.
“What is it?” She asked.
“It’s called ‘Everglass’. Crafted from the fractured ice of the snow queen’s lake, and bathed in the molten heart and volcanic ash of the volcano she was abducted from. She’d just managed to blast it with her icy breath, imbuing it with her magical powers when the demon struck. She dropped it, whispering your name on the wind.”
“She really said my name?”
“Tis true,” nodded the crow.
The robber maiden’s stomach flipped, she’d never been entrusted with anything- let alone something conjured by the snow queen herself! Taking a deep steadying breath, she stepped into the portal.
It felt like being plunged into frigid, icy water. Glass rippled like molten silver, then spat them into a world of chaos. She landed on her knees on wet tarmac, the sky above was an angry charcoal. A car screeched, swerving around them.
“Path!” The crow cawed frantically from her shoulder.
Fleeing the road, she pressed herself against a wall, eyes wide in panic. “The mirror,” she whispered, clutching her knife, “it’s everywhere!”
People scurried past in the grey drizzle, their eyes locked on little screens in front of them- glints of the troll-mirror winked within.
“Can they not see it?” she cried.
“No,” said the crow sadly. “They’ve been corrupted by its evil. The artefact is their only salvation now.”
The girl watched in horror through a shop window as a wall of screens flashed, showing images of war, destruction, and starving children.
“They’re called Televisions,” the crow explained, the biggest shards were used to make these, and other devices. There’s no escape from their toxic lies, they infect like a virus. People despair and fight amongst themselves, for the longer they ponder over the screens, the uglier and more despicable they see themselves and others to be.”
“Then we must find the queen- she can stop this!”
“She’s powerless now,” said the crow. “I’m afraid it’s up to you alone.”
The girl had never felt fear before, but as she watched the contorted faces of the people scuttling past, her resolve hardened.
“Tell me what to do, crow.”
“We must find the three heart-shards of the troll-mirror and use the Everglass to destroy them. It will be a perilous journey, for the demon has many minions.”
“Then lead the way!” She decreed bravely.
The girl and the crow set off together to seek out the first shard.
Each of our runners-up will receive an eGiftcard for the writing course of their choosing.
Don’t forget to head over to our WriteRomance and WriteFiction blogs to see who won these contests too, but thank you to everyone who took part! We hope it gives you an extra burst of inspiration to kick-off 2019!
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